Addleshaws’ Russian roulette

Time was that ’no win, no fee’ was the exclusive preserve of those firms whose adverts formed the punctuation marks between Countdown and Fifteen To One during soporific student lunchtimes.

But if Addleshaw Goddard’s latest innovation is anything to go by, those days could be over.

It is doubtful whether Boris Berezovsky spent many weekday afternoons lounging around in a dressing gown, eating beans on toast and discussing the finer points of the (original) Star Wars trilogy. And if he ever had a trip or fall at work, one imagines that heads would roll.

Yet it is that same Russian squillionaire who has broken new ground by agreeing a conditional fee arrangement (no win, no fee to the less posh among us) with those happy gamblers over at Addleshaws (see story).

Success for Boris in his $4bn claim against fellow oligarch Roman Abramovich would net the firm tens of millions of pounds. Nice work if you can get it.

But the rub here is that CFAs were originally designed for those without the means to fight expensive court battles. “Berezovsky isn’t a man who can’t afford to pay his legal bills,” commented one source, stating the somewhat obvious.

Of course, wily blighters that they are, the good people at Addleshaws have taken out insurance just in case their client loses. So ’no win, no fee’ is more like a ’win-win’ for the firm. Clever chaps those litigators.